Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, Devotions for Luke 6:1-16
January 23-29, 2017
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, Monday, January 23, 2017
“His disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them” (Luke 6:1).
Three year old Kelly Ann hated church. It was a time when she had to sit still and be quiet for an hour. Nothing fun or exciting happened at church. It was boring and, if she made a fuss, people would stare at her with mean looks and she would be punished. Josie and Carla decided to visit St. John’s Church and worship there. They will never return. The church members clearly did not accept their non-conventional clothing, tattoos and the fact that they were a couple.
Like the Pharisee, we have continued the tradition of Sabbath rule making. We have a list of “do’s and don’ts” by which we judge people. The Sabbath is a gift from God. It was meant to be a time when we catch our breath and celebrate God’s blessings. The Sabbath is a day when we rejoice that our daily bread is not the result of our hard work, but rather because of God’s provision.
Generous God, forgive us when we misuse your gifts and make them something they were never meant to be. Amen.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017–Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
“Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath’” (Luke 6:5).
One rule by which Miguel lived was, “Don’t get involved.” He thought the rule had served him well. When a young mother with two small children in the checkout line ahead of him came up short of cash, Miguel’s first reaction was not to get involved. The woman’s struggle increased, though, and Miguel decided to act. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out some dollar bills and made up the woman’s shortfall.
We live our lives by rules—we have to in order to live together. As followers of Jesus, though, the main truth in our lives is that Jesus is Lord. Jesus hasn’t written his rules in law books, but rather in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). His command to us is to “Love one another as I have loved you,”—in any way possible. (We might need to break some rules in order to follow the Spirit’s leading. So be it. Jesus is Lord.)
Mighty Lord, empower us to boldly and lovingly follow you. Amen.
Jesus, Heals on the Sabbath, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
“The scribes and the Pharisees watched him … so that they might find an accusation against him” (Luke 6:7).
We see what we want to see. A group of people were instructed to look at a picture and note the locations of the color red. After everyone had studied the picture for thirty seconds it was covered. The moderator then asked the members of the group to tell him what the man in the picture was wearing. No one could do it. They hadn’t seen the man because they were looking for the color red.
The scribes and Pharisees watched Jesus, looking for the bad rather than the good. They didn’t see any acts of love. Jesus breaking a law was what caught their attention. We aren’t very different from the scribes and Pharisees. Frequently, we decide what we want to see and then look for that in the people around us. This being the case, we will decide to look for the good things in people and in life.
Divine Healer, open our eyes that we may see people as you see them. Enable us to celebrate the good instead of complaining about the bad. Amen.
Thursday, January 26, 2017–Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to destroy it’” (Luke 6:9)?
It is lawful to do harm to others and destroy life. The choice is ours. We can gossip about a co-worker. Refusing to forgive a family member or friend for what they said or did to us is an option. If we want, we can spread hate and judgment by our words and actions rather than love and grace.
It is also possible for us to decide to do good things and to save life. We can decide to volunteer to help at a school rather than complain about the poor education children are receiving. We can volunteer some of our free time to work at a food bank or a Habitat for Humanity construction site. There are many ways for us to choose to save lives. It may not be theologically appropriate or correct to say that we are able to decide to follow Jesus. How we follow Jesus is our every day and every hour choice, though.
Precious Lord, you did that we might have life. Enable us to live so that others might have life and enjoy your abundant blessings. Amen.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, Friday, January 27, 2017
“’Stretch out your hand’ he did so, and his hand was restored” (Luke 6:12).
In their retirement, Jill and Conner decided to take a cooking class together. Since the class was “hands on” the couple spent a lot of time in the kitchen creating various dishes. Jill, a detail person, followed the teacher’s instructions meticulously. Conner, on the other hand, thought he could improve on the recipe and tended to take shortcuts. It came as no surprise that Jill’s creations came out perfectly, while Conner’s not so much.
Like a master chef, Jesus frequently gives instructions to people. In this passage, Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand. At other times, Jesus told a blind man to wash in the Pool of Siloam, a lame man to take up his palate and walk, ten lepers to show themselves to the priests and Lazarus to come out of the tomb. We can speculate what might have happened had these people not followed Jesus’ directions. We do know what happened when they did follow them. There is abundant life in following Jesus and yielding to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, grant us the will and the way to be faithfully obedient to you, so that we are able to enjoy the abundant life that you have for us. Amen.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, Saturday, 28, 2017
“He went to the mountains to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
Akihito had a decision to make. He was given two job offers within hours of each other and now he had to decide which one to take. They both had pros and cons. One offered more money but involved a move of some distance. The other one enabled him to stay in his home, but offered less money and fewer benefits. As a follower of Jesus, Akihito knew that his decision had to be based on something more than the “bottom line.” He prayed and sought the Spirit’s guidance. Akihito wanted to be where the Lord wanted him to be.
At first it may seem odd that Jesus, who was God, would pray to God the Father. It appears that it would be unnecessary, at first glance. We don’t understand the communication process that went on between the Father and the Son. We do know that Jesus prayed. By doing so, Jesus underscored the importance of prayer in the lives of his disciples. As followers of Jesus, prayer is what we do.
Wonderful Lord, forgive us when we get too busy to pray and are so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to ask for your leading. Amen.
Sunday, January 29, 2017, Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
“And when day came he called his disciples” (Luke 6:13).
Luke’s story of Jesus calling his disciples is quite different from the other gospels. Matthew and Mark stress that Peter, Andrew, James and John left everything immediately in order to follow Jesus. Luke has the fisherman hearing Jesus teach and witnessing miracles before answering Jesus call. Luke also includes this scene where Jesus invites twelve men to be his inner circle of disciples.
A notable point in Luke’s story is that Jesus called his disciples. They did not ask to follow him. This was very different from the normal practices of Rabbis and students. Men would ask prominent rabbis if they could follow the rabbi, not vice versa. It is also noteworthy that, even though Jesus called twelve men to be close to him, Jesus did not exclude anyone from following him.
Jesus moves the same way in our lives. He calls us and we can only respond to his call. Also, Jesus calls everyone to follow him and then sends us all out to proclaim his gospel and share God’s love and grace.
Jesus, draw us closer to you. Fill us up with your love and grace and then energize us with your Spirit to go out to share and serve. Amen.